Thinking of Getting an Undergraduate Degree Overseas?

Education – Study Abroad

Ever considered the Netherlands, Finland or Japan?

By Pooben Narayanen

You’ve finished your O-levels and you’re starting grade 12, in two years secondary school will be a thing of the past. At this point, many of you will be thinking about university education, where and what to study. The question of where to study will depend on your family’s financial situation. Many of you will choose to stay in Mauritius and go to either one of the public or private universities. The major advantage in staying in Mauritius is that you will be at home and will benefit from the support of your family. Some of you will opt to go overseas following in the footsteps of so many thousands of Mauritians, heading to the United Kingdom, France, Canada, India, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia or Singapore.

However, there are alternative countries that may not be on the radar of Mauritian students, such as the Netherlands, Finland, and Japan which provide world-class university education in English at an affordable price.

The Netherlands (Holland)

In the Netherlands, English is as widely spoken and understood as Dutch, as a result there are several universities that teach undergraduate degrees in English. Let’s say you are interested in computer science. You can do so at the Eindhoven University of Technology, where the current cost for a three-year Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, taught in English, is around 615,000 MUR per academic year. Cost of living in Eindhoven is around 25,000 – 40,000 MUR a month, this will depend on what type of accommodation you opt for, sharing an apartment with fellow students and cooking your own food as opposed to eating out will be much cheaper.

Foreign students can also fund their studies by working part-time, you have the choice of working part-time for 16 hours a week or full-time, that is up to 30 hours a week during the summer holidays. Once you have completed your studies, the Dutch government allows you to stay for a year to look for a full-time job which can then open the door to residency. However, it is important to speak Dutch, which is not that hard as it is close to English. Also, you can use your Dutch work experience to help you get work in Mauritius if you choose to return.

Studying in the Netherlands comes with other perks, it has a great football league, it is a multicultural country, and you can easily connect with the rest of Europe.


Ever played the ‘Angry Birds’ video game? If so, did you know it hails from Finland? The country has one of the best educational systems in the world. And their university education is now available to international students as the country offers more than 500 English-taught undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at 35 universities. There are currently over 20,000 international students who are studying there. Also, as a major hub for IT development there are thousands of software industry professionals from around the world who have made their home in Finland.

It is not the only reason international students choose to go to Finland. The country’s universities offer good undergraduate programs in other areas. Let’s say you are interested in Business Administration and Commerce, a good school to consider is Aalto University, located in the city of Espoo. A university which takes pride in encouraging its students to start their businesses whilst still studying. The length of study is three years and costs around 600,000 MUR per academic year.

Cost of living for a student is around 24,000 – 35,000 MUR, again this will depend on whether you opt for shared accommodation and if you eat out or cook at home. Foreign students can work part-time but they must be able to speak Finnish as this will allow them to get access to more jobs. Once you’ve completed your studies you can also apply for work in Finland which can lead to residency.

Another reason why Finland is attractive is that it ranks among the best countries to live in and offers a great quality of life. 


The “Land of the Rising Sun” has many of the world’s leading tertiary institutions. This should be of no surprise as the country invests heavily in education. Today several Japanese universities offer undergraduate degrees that are taught entirely in English. There may not be as many as the Netherlands or Finland, but those that are available provide for a great educational and cultural experience for the lucky student who gets accepted.

Lucky because entrance to Japanese universities is highly competitive, even for the English taught degrees. For example, the University of Kyoto has a Civil Engineering program that is open to international students, but there are only 30 seats. In addition to being highly competitive, Japanese universities offer tertiary education at an affordable price. As of writing, the civil engineering program at Kyoto University is around 169,000 MUR per academic year.

International students can also work part-time if this does not interfere with their studies, but they are expected to learn Japanese. Cost of living in any big Japanese city is high, in Kyoto you can expect to pay upwards of 30,000 MUR per month for rent. Again, this will be cheaper if you opt to share accommodation and to cook at home.

Japan does allow students to apply for work once they have completed their studies, with an ageing population and low population growth rates, the country is turning to foreigners. However, you must speak and write Japanese by the time of graduation, which your university will help you with.

Ready to make the move?

If you can afford to go overseas, then you add these countries to your list. No matter where you’re going, you will need a sense of adventure and an open mind.

For further information please check the following websites:

The Netherlands:

Pooben Narayanen has a BA in economics and a BA with honours in Political Science from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. He also holds a master’s in Media Practice from the University of Sydney, Australia. He returned to Mauritius in 2008, and since then he has been working in various sectors in the country. As he teaches part-time at the University of Mauritius, he has an active in interest in tertiary education and career paths for Mauritians in a rapidly changing world.

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 14 July 2023

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